Written by: Joon-ho Bong and Jon Ronson
Directed by: Joon-ho Bong
cw: animal cruelty
Bio: A young girl travels across the world to rescue her childhood best friend - a fantastic, laboratory-created pig named Okja - from being turned into jerky.
Why: I don’t think humans eating meat is inherently wrong (humans have been doing it since forever) but the #1 reason why I try to stay meat-free is that the current meat production industry is distancing us from our food, putting profit over living things (the animals, workers, and consumers), and degrading the environment, all of which is usually affecting other (re: less wealthy than the US) countries. Like slaughterhouse workers are known to often get serious injuries on the job and not get health coverage or compensation, and the companies get away with it because, unfortunately, a lot are undocumented and fear acting against the company that is hiring them. Okja really tacks down all the nefarious and multi-faceted issues of the meat industry. Eating meat isn’t bad but how we’re eating it, well, Okja shows how and why it’s not good. Yet the ending left me a little unsatisfied which brings me to…
Why not: I didn’t really understand the ending. Without going into 2 much detail, I feel like the ending made it become a movie just about a girl and her animal friend. Which at its base, it is! But it is so much more than that, and all the critical-ness, the unease that the rest of the movie brings to the viewer ultimately gets assuaged and we are left feeling sedated in happy ending. I wish the ending implicated the viewer (or rather consumer - of media, of corporate advertising, of meat) into thinking about the political nature of simply what one chooses to buy at the super-market.